Opec’s cash strapped members from Caracas to Abuja hope the organization will re-discover its lost raison d’être and take action to support oil prices in Algiers next month. Meaningful action looks highly unlikely, but in the meantime the speculation is providing some support. But continued bearish fundamentals with stocks still near record levels mean that a sustained leap in prices beyond the current $40-50/B range looks ever less likely.

Opec members are due to meet on the sidelines of the 26-28 September International Energy Forum meeting in Algiers. The informal nature of the meeting makes it easier to manage expectations – while there has been plenty of speculation about the possibility of an output deal, no firm proposals have been tabled. All the signs indicate that a meaningful deal is highly unlikely (and an agreement to ‘freeze’ output at current record levels could prove worse than useless). (CONTINUED - 591 WORDS)